The Cultural Divide and Changing Beliefs about Gender in the United States, 1974–2010

Kristen Schultz Lee, Paula A. Tufiş, Duane F. Alwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The present paper examines claims of a growing cultural divide in the United States. We analyze social change in beliefs about gender over a period of 36 years (from 1974 to 2010) in the United States using data from the nationally representative General Social Survey (GSS). We find evidence of growing gender egalitarianism until the mid-1990s, with a reversal between 1996 and 2000, and a decline in state differences in beliefs about gender over time in our decomposition analysis and multilevel models. Although we find significant differences in gender beliefs among states in the 1970s based on their voting record on the Equal Rights Amendment and based on patterns of family formation and family life associated with the Second Demographic Transition, these differences among states decreased or disappeared entirely by the early years of the twenty-first century. We highlight the implications of our findings for the ongoing public and academic debate surrounding growing cultural differences among states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-408
Number of pages16
JournalSex Roles
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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